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Shichidanme (Act VII) from the series Jōruri Chūshingura

The actors Bandō Hikosaburō V as Ukiyo Tohai, Ichimura Kakitsu IV as Nozarashi Gosuke and Ichikawa Danzō VI as Rokuji Namuemon

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Shichidanme (Act VII)

from the series Jōruri Chūshingura

by Utagawa Kunisada II, 1865

IHL Cat. #1232

About This Print

This print depicts a scene from Act VII of a jōruri performance of the play Chūshingura Sugata no Eawase which played at the Ichimura-za on May 7, 1865.  Ichimura Kakitsu IV seated on the far left and Bandō Mitsugorō VI to his right are providing a chanted narrative, accompanied by Ichikawa Shinsha on shamisen. In front of them we see Bandō Hikosaburō V as Teraoka Heiemon and his younger sister (Imōto) Okaru. The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University notes 人形見ぶり for Hikosaburō's role, indicating that he is acting in a puppet-like style, using the exaggerated motions associated with puppetry.

For another print by Kunisada II depicting this particular performance of Chūshingura Sugata no Eawase, but not from this particular series of diptychs and produced by a different publisher, see IHL Cat. #971, Jōruri Chūshingura Nidanme Sannin Yakko.

To read more about the representations of Chūshingura in woodblock prints see the article on this site Chūshingura (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers) in Woodblock Prints.

The Actors in the Print

For background on the actors Ichikawa Shinsha, Ichimura Kakitsu IV, BandōMitsugorō VI,  Bandō Hikosaburō V, and Sawamura Tosshō II see their respective entries in the article The Kabuki Actor on this site.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #971
 Title Shichidanme (Act VII) 七段目
 Series Jōruri Chūshingura 浄瑠理 忠臣蔵
 Utagawa Kunisada II (1823-1880)
Kunisada hitsu (on each sheet) 国貞筆
 Seal Toshidama seal (年玉の印) in red ink under the signature
 Publication Date
1865 (Genji 2/Keiō 1), 4th month
丑四改 sign of the ox 4 aratame

吉、伊勢兼 [Kichi, Isekane] - seal of the publisher Iseya Kanekichi 伊勢屋 兼吉 [Marks: seal 21-059; pub. ref. 145]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - two separate unbacked sheets; minor soiling; minor damage to paper edges
 Genre ukiyo-eyakusha-e
 Format vertical oban diptych
 H x W Paper right sheet: 14 3/8 x 9 7/8 in. (36.5 x 25.1 cm)
 left sheet: 14 3/8 x 9 15/16 in. (36.5 x 25.2 cm)
 H x W Image right sheet: 14 1/8 x 9 7/8 in. (35.9 x 25.1 cm)
 left sheet: 14 x 9 13/16 in. (35.6 x 24.9 cm)
 Collections This Print The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 008-0239 (R) and 0240 (L); Art Research Center Ritsumeikan University arcUP0482; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.38946a-b

 Reference Literature